IAC Writes Down Search Business; Takes $1 Billion Loss For Q4

IAC (NSDQ: IACI) bit an accounting bullet in Q4, taking a $991 million impairment charge for its search & media business — including Ask and excluding Citysearch. Without that after-tax charge and an unrelated write down for $12.2 million, IAC would have turned in earnings per share of $.20, an 88 percent drop from the same quarter last year but still beating estimates.(Q408 net last year was affected by a one-time pre-tax gain.) With those, IAC lost just over $1 billion, or $7.94 per share. Not to worry, it still has that $1.7 billion of cash waiting for just the right occasion.

Those are the eye-popping numbers — and we’ll have more about the reasons when Chairman and CEO Barry Diller meets with analysts later this morning. But that’s not the whole story for Q4. Revenue was up five percent to $367 million, while operating income before amortization rose 47 percent to $41.4 million on cost savings for the sales or shutdowns of businesses and better results from the Search and Match segments.

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